Peace, harmony, and lifelong learning are Liz's passions. She's outspoken on education and childhood and is an activist in local politics.
No doubt I will take some flak for the ideas presented in this article. No, I am not a teacher, but I have dealt with a lot of teachers in my day.
Of course, I am a teacher in many senses of the word: I've taught my children how to speak and other early-childhood lessons; I've taught Girl Scout workshops to both kids and adults; and I've taught various skills to several persons at various times.
I know my position is unpopular with many people; by the same token, there are many others who will agree with me.
1. An Idea Not Well Thought Through
Depending upon the school in question, children can be subjected to homework as early as kindergarten, and certainly this burden has been imposed on every child by the third grade.
At the elementary school level especially, this is a bad idea because:
- Young children are known for having a very short attention span.
- They struggle to sit still for extended periods.
- They get only 2 short recess breaks and lunch at school.
- They become very restless by the end of the school day.
By the time school is out, the kids just want to go home, relax, and be a kid ! It is the rare child who enjoys homework, and whose parents do not wage battles of one degree or another over the subject.
Typically, the child will arrive home, have a snack, possibly a short play break, and then be sat down to do their homework.
I doubt there are many parents who will not agree that this can be a traumatic time. The child has already been exercising his or her brain all day at school. They need time to digest the material, not do busy work at home.
2. Homework Is Busy Work
Busy work, you say? Yes, that is exactly what homework is. Especially the sort of homework that involves copying out questions already printed in the textbook.
This is a waste of time, paper, and face it, a cause of frustration, extra tiredness and sloppy penmanship. Little hands tire and cramp up easily.
If you regard school as a child's "job," and compare to jobs held by adults, you will soon realize that there are not very many jobs that require the employees to take work home and continue to work on their own time.
The teaching profession is one of the exceptions, but they can reduce or eliminate their own "homework" load by not assigning homework to their students ! Look at all the extra paperwork and 'correcting' that would eliminate!
3. An Exercise in Frustration
There is another even more practical reason for eliminating homework. The common argument in favor is that the homework is intended to reinforce the day's lessons.
That's a nice theory, but it is something of a straw man defense. If the lesson was presented well, and the student understood it, they will remember it. Class time should be allotted for practice.
If the lesson was not understood, then what happens at homework time? The student is lost, has no idea of the concept, and will practice and reinforce errors instead.
Now, extra time and work must be done to reverse this problem, the student will have suffered wasted time, some degree of mental trauma in having his/her work red-penciled, and depending upon their personality, a possible blow to their self-esteem.
I hear the response to this suggestion already! "Well, that's what the teacher is there for! The student should ask if he does not understand!" In principle, yes, that is true. But there are extenuating circumstances.
Homework Causes Frustration
4. Why Not Ask the Teacher For Help?
- The student is very shy, and does not wish to ask questions in class, for fear of ridicule by classmates and appearing "stupid" in the eyes of his peers.
- In the above case, some students may elect to wait until after class to ask the teacher in private--but this is not always possible. For example, their parent may have told them to be home by a certain time, or is waiting for them in the pick-up queue--a common scenario these days.
- For whatever reason, real or imagined, the student may feel a personality clash with that teacher, and feel that she is not liked by the teacher, engendering an atmosphere of mistrust or fear.
- The student may not actually be aware that he did not understand the lesson. He may think he understands, but in fact, may have missed some salient point, or misinterpreted something the teacher said. So, believing that he understands, sees no need to ask for clarification.
- The child may not be a native speaker, and does not have the language skills to grasp the lesson sufficiently for independent work.
- For any number of reasons, parents may be either unavailable or unable to assist their child with the lessons.
- There are also a few teachers out there who should seek a different line of work!
Some People Just Should Not Be Teachers!
In the fourth grade, I had one such horrible teacher. He had zero patience, and held the opinion that asking questions meant you had not paid attention.
His "answer" to any student's legitimate question was to severely scold that child, including slamming and breaking pointers and rulers across the student's desk.
The fellow's face would get beet red, he'd be yelling at the top of his voice, and the entire class was intimidated. I coped by trying very hard to be invisible.
That was a crucial year for learning the foundations for advanced math later on; fractions, percents, long division, etc. Thanks to this teacher, I failed to master any of it, and to this day, I struggle with math.
Stacks of Books to Lug Home Can be Overwhelming
5. Parental Help?
Another nice idea, freely tossed about, is that parents should help their children with the homework.
This is a nice theory, but parents, especially today, often are both working, and the evenings are chaotic with all the tasks related to running the household, getting dinner, and getting kids to bed on time. Since they have worked all day, they are tired. Asking them to sit (and often do battle) with the kids to get the homework done is an added stress they do not need.
Besides, they've already "done their time" in school, paid their dues. Parents are the first teachers their children have, when it comes to learning to talk, tie their shoes and brush their teeth. When it comes time for schooling, however, the majority send the little moppets off to school.
Of course parents should, offer any help requested about lessons the child has studied in school, and be supportive of learning in general as a lifelong process. But help with actual homework? No. There are simply too many opportunities for strife and too few for positive ends.
Homeschooling families are still a small fraction of the educational experience. As I often said when I was going through this battle with my own children, "I send them to school to learn. I'm not a teacher--I don't have the temperament for it. If I had wanted to be a teacher, I'd have gotten a teaching credential and/or homeschooled the kids!"
Typical Classrooms May Not Be a Good Fit For All Kids
6. Teaching Methods Keep Changing
Additionally, many parents have no idea of today's teaching methods. Just look at the so-called "new math" craze that was being taught in the 1970's and 1980's. Most of us had no clue what in the world this was about--it was a totally foreign concept of how to teach. Many parents I knew could not decipher this strange new way of complicating simple addition and subtraction. It was not only my particular math deficit--other parents not so "mathematically challenged" as I had similar difficulties.
I recently saw a page of math my granddaughter had been assigned. It had my head spinning. It seems there is now a new craze out there, in which countless additional and unnecessary steps are added to simple addition problems.
This is foolishness of the highest order. It not only wastes time and creates frustration and more of a learning gap with students and parents, but it also presents multiple opportunities for mistakes to be made.
Each additional step added is a place for a potential error.
My point being, teaching methods keep changing, and we parents and grandparents, many years since out of school, have not had reason (not being teachers ourselves) to keep abreast of the latest educational fads and theories. This makes helping the current generation difficult at best, and fuels the fires of frustration on both sides.
Result: Resentment and Failure to Retain Information
I hated homework when I was a child, and I vividly recall many battles with my poor mother over the issue. I even have an accidentally self-inflicted tattoo on my leg (when in a fit of angst over one of those fourth-grade math problems) I flung my freshly sharpened pencil to the floor.
Unfortunately, it never made it to the floor, and stuck into my leg instead. Lesson learned: don't throw temper tantrums. Lesson not learned : how to do the math problems! To this day, some sixty years later, (see photo below) I still bear the mark!
Wrong Lesson Learned; Extreme Close-Up of My Leg!
To Do Homework or Not to Do Homework?
I hated homework to the point that it made me hate school. Raised in a somewhat more strict household than many of today's kids, I was 'terrified' of getting a failing grade, so I did not totally slack off.
However, I developed the attitude of "If a "C" is passing, why bust my tail for anything higher?"
When my own children came along, I was very torn between insisting that they do their homework, and the fact that I did not support the concept in any way.
To attempt to take a "devil's advocate" position, I offer studies on the other side of the coin. One such set of arguments can be found at the 'Teachnology' site. They also follow with arguments supporting my premise.
This article in Newsweek also claims in its title that homework is a good thing. However, read through to the end, and we find that the studies are actually inconclusive.
Flipping the Lessons Around Works!
7. Needless Struggles
I have seen my elder grandson struggle with getting it done. He and my daughter have waged battles royale over the topic. He's not a dummy--in fact, he's very smart, and figures out a lot on his own. Without ever having taken advanced math (perhaps elementary algebra), he went online and found trigonometric formulas, understood them, and applied them in designing model rockets for his hobby.
This same boy is now studying Gaelic online, on his own time, and learning this ancient language--just for fun! Imagine where this could take him!
All of this tells me that his refusal to do his homework to the point of getting bumped out of 'regular' school into continuation school meant that he was bored with it. He was one of those who understood in class, and did not see the point of wasting his "off time" with more of the same.
A reading assignment can be done in class--it need not be sent home. What is wrong with a quiet reading time in school? The teacher can use this time to do some of her required paperwork, thus lessening or eliminating her own "homework" burden! Perhaps, to eliminate homework, one more hour might need to be added to the school day. So what? The payoff would be of far greater benefit than the ritual of homework.
When my eldest granddaughter was in third grade, she battled her mother (my other daughter), over the same thing. She dawdled, got distracted, took breaks, made excuses, goofed off, squirmed, and generally took over 2 hours to do half an hour's worth of work.
Why? Because she had already sat still all day long in class! She was tired and wanted to play and recharge her batteries! I did not fault her at all.
8. Effect on the Grades
The reason for my grandson's lackluster performance and dismissal from 'regular' high school was almost exclusively due to failure to turn in homework assignments. Sometimes, he'd even do them..and just not turn them in.
His brother followed the same path; ending up in continuation school, and not because he is stupid, but because he was overwhelmed. Learning responsibility? He was very conscientious in his summer jobs.
If homework is, as is claimed, supposed to be a reinforcement or practice, then it really should not have any bearing on the student's grade. Whether or not the lessons have been learned can and should be fully obvious by means of test results at mid-term and finals. Classwork, attitude, attention and participation in addition to those aforementioned test scores should be more than sufficient to assess progress.
Homework has an effect on grades, however, because the teachers for the most part, grade homework, and fail to see an "F" as an opportunity to re-explain difficult concepts.
- Homework, if given at all, should never be graded.
- The teacher should view the results as a learning experience for themselves, as to how well they presented the material.
- Any student who consistently fails to turn in the homework should be evaluated for either additional help or advanced placement.
- Penalizing the student by an "F" or 'zero' grade for not doing the homework, or doing it poorly, is a blow to the self-esteem.
(I have long held the opinion that a teacher who hands out a lot of failing grades is, in effect, grading their own competence as a teacher.)
Naturally, there are those few students who are just plain lazy, don't want to learn, and act out for whatever reasons unrelated to school. I am not referring to those kids, but to the average students whose behavior in school is generally good, and who make an honest effort.
My grandsons were not alone. The very fact that continuation schools exist proves the point that many children simply cannot cope with the demands of homework or other aspects of regular school. Both boys are currently in the military, and doing very well in their careers!
9. Students With Problems
As we see more and more "mainstreaming" of students with various severe problems, either mental or physical, we come to yet another group for which homework may prove just too exhausting or frustrating.
A child with ADD, for example, is going to have a very tough time trying to accomplish homework after having had to be in school all day.
A child with a physical disability, who may have motor control issues, is going to find homework more challenging than it should be.
Homework Frustration and Grumpiness
10. Learning Should Be Fun!
In closing, there should be no reason for any child to hate school. Nearly any topic can be made into a fun experience. When kids are enjoying themselves, they are relaxed, and the information sticks with them.
Writing assignments should be only class-length. How many of you were assigned, almost every year, as I was, a returning-to-school essay of "What I Did This Summer." ?
Quite a few, I'll wager. The problem with that was, not all kids 'did' anything. Many families could not afford vacations, so with the exception of not going to school all summer, the child did nothing out of the ordinary, and teachers probably had many, many boring papers to read and correct.
Hmmm... how to fix this problem? Add two more words to the topic: "What I Wish I Did This Summer." Voila! Watch the creative juices flow, and budding writers emerge!
- Use a family history exploration as a jumping-off point for general history lessons.
- Figure out batting averages for baseball to help with percentages.
- Help bake cookies or cakes to learn fractions.
- Use games like "Mad Libs" to boost learning parts of speech.
- Encourage journaling for writing practice.
When my kids were in school, there was a push for reading, and the program was called "Reading is Fundamental." Those of us in the parents' group designed a flyer emphasizing the "FUN" part of the final word.
I'll take it a step further, and say, Learning Is Fun! If it is not, there is a problem with the method(s) being used.
Go have fun!
A study by renowned Stanford University shows many pitfalls to the overemphasis on homework.
Another study on Healthline details negative effects on both health and learning, of excess homework by time and grade level.
This article in Time online explores both sides, with one conclusion being that 'correlation is not the same as causation.'
Khan Academy is one source for online, independent learning outside of regular school.
Questions & Answers
Question: Why do we still do homework?
Answer: Primarily, homework is still around because it's an entrenched concept that's been around for centuries. The longer anything has been around a certain way, the more difficult it is to create change.
I am reminded of the story of a young bride, whose husband asked why she was cutting the end from a roast before cooking. Her reply was, "Well, that's how my mother always did it." So, they called up the mom, and asked; she had the same exact response as her daughter.
Her grandma was still living, so they all asked her. Grandma said, " Because that's the only way it could fit into the pan I had!"
So, even at the personal level, old habits die hard. At the level of national public institutions, multiply that factor exponentially!
© 2010 Liz Elias
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on July 21, 2019:
Thanks for sharing your experience. That t-shirt sounds hilarious!
As for Healthlink, I only used them as a reference source. I do not write for them, and have no clue about what that might be like. Best wishes.
Jason B Truth from United States of America on July 20, 2019:
Liz Elias? Your article reminds me of how frustrating homework could be as a kid, especially as I got older and my schedule became tighter. It also brings to mind this one shirt that was out there when I was in the fifth grade, that said that homework caused brain damage. LOL! I was curious about something. You mentioned "Healthlink" as a reference in your article. Someone at "Healthlink" has asked me if I wanted to write articles for them. What is your opinion about writing for "Healthlink"? Do they treat their writers well?
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on June 18, 2015:
Thanks very much, Shauna! I appreciate your support of my position. I've argued this point with nearly every teacher my kids had; all to no avail. They knew full well I did not support the concept, and would not be pushing my kids to do the stuff. LOL
As for sitting on a school board; I don't think so. I had my fill of school board meetings when my kids were in school, and we parents were protesting them trying to close our kids' school. I despise politics! ;-)
Thanks so much for your well-thought-out comment.
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 18, 2015:
Lizzy, you give a very good argument for not assigning homework. I can't disagree with anything you said. I love the idea of not grading homework when it's assigned. You bring up a great point that how well (or not) a student does on the homework is a measure of whether or not the teacher is getting through to the students. She should be looking at herself and not the kids. Ensuring the children comprehend what is being taught is what's important. Poor test grades (and/or homework grades) should be a huge red flag that either the methods aren't working or the teacher is not communicating well enough.
Excellent article my friend!
scribblingdaddy on August 02, 2012:
One of my favorite French expressions- "Je parle francais comme une vache espagnol!"
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on August 01, 2012:
@ scribblingdaddy--Je suis loin d'aisé en français. (and I had to resort to a translation website to make that statement...and when I 'back translate' it--it does not come out to what I wanted to say, which is, "I am not fluent in French"...) I studied French in junior high and in college for a semster, because of my family hertitage. Here, in CA, however, Spanish would have been more useful. My usual comment, when asked if I speak French, is, "Oui. Je parle francais comme la vache espagnol!" ;-)
@ Greg Horlacher--Hello again. Thanks for the additional comment and point of reference. You are right on the money about that! If half the money spent on studies and analyzing data were actually spent on education itself, our schools would be in much better shape. I'm reminded of an old bumper sticker I once saw, that sums it up nicely: "It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need, and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber!"
scribblingdaddy on August 01, 2012:
Excellent! Vous parlez francais? I was so happy to see that at the end of your post. I respect your viewpoint, although we may have some differences. But hey, that's what it's all about- dialogue and exchanging ideas!
Greg Horlacher from Grand Prairie, TX on August 01, 2012:
Know how to tell when anything "data-driven" is successful? Check the data.
Another good book that shows the giant holes in data reliance is The Disciplined Mind by Howard Gardner. He has a great anecdote about Americans trying to duplicate the success of an Italian village's wonderful preschool system. They fail to understand that the Italian system is a community philosophy that has worked over time. We can't just copy an artist's movements and expect to produce the same masterpiece. The greatest school systems in the world are not data-driven.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on August 01, 2012:
Hello again, scribbling daddy,
Yes, there must be some measure of whether a child has learned, but I believe that can be accomplished without this "teaching to a test" nonsense upon which we have come to rely in the last generation or so.
I respect your right to your opinion, and I'm pleased you actually enjoyed the article, but in the end, I'm afraid we'll remain unable to convince each other of our respective opinions. I still maintain that a child's "job," if you will, is to go to school all day. I expect them to learn what they need to learn IN school, and not have to continue thier "job" after they get home. Very few adult professions require the employee to do "homework." Once they have left their job for the day, the rest of the day and evening is theirs to do with as they choose. I still maintain that at home time should be family/friends time, exclusively.
Je ferme mon argument. ;-)
scribblingdaddy on August 01, 2012:
Thanks for the response! I know what you mean when it comes to studies being contradictory and the results depending upon the funding source. So true and so sad! Manipulation of numbers is quite a cottage-industry in this crazy world. But we must avoid cynicism when educating children and do our "homework" so to speak.
That being said, education professionals from classroom aides to district superintendent must rely on data to make pedagogical decisions that are "best practices" for a child's education. Hunches and personal beliefs are useful to a very limited extent, but a true professional educator relies on data from multiple sources and over at least a three-year time period. Imagine a surgeon cutting open a patient on the left side because s/he believes that the diseased organ is there but it's on the other side. What a catastrophe that would be! It's the same with education, whether the subject is homework, test scores, teaching practices, the special education process or even teacher evaluations: make studied, data-driven decisions that are quantifiable. Also, for the classroom teacher, data make decisions more defendable, whether it is a parent, grandparent, or supervisor who is questioning the teaching approach that may or may not have led to the child's success.
Another aspect of homework completion is that, in addition to teaching the desired skill (which can sometimes be done by rote), it teaches the intrinsic value of finishing a task, which is important in cognitive and social development of children. earned self-esteem instead of global self-esteem. Homework and studying have effects far beyond the simple task at hand that "takes up a kid's time."
I was a classroom French teacher for 12 years and when I first started teaching I gave a lot of homework and was super-vigilant about students completing it. (To the point of giving a zero for the whole assignment if one question were incomplete!). I gave less and less homework over the years to the point of giving none right before I left the profession (to be a stay-at-home dad this last June). Whether this affected the students ability to master the material we studied is probable, but I don't really know. My hunch is yes, but like I stated, I don't do hunches in teaching too much.
I read a lot of Alfie Kohn in school-he gives a great perspective on the art of teaching.
Wow! You wrote a great post- very thought provoking. I appreciate your feedback and hope you have a great day!
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on August 01, 2012:
Thanks for your comment. Actually, studies are not always accurate either--it depends upon who has paid for the study--they usually get the "results" they want to support their position. If it's studies you want, you might want to check out the books by Alfie Kohn, mentioned by another hubber.
When it comes to studies and statistics, remember Mark Twain's statement, "There are lies, damned lies and statistics."
Thanks for your input--however, I maintain my position. Homework may be fine in college, when we are supposed to be learning how to find information, rather than memorizing rote facts just to pass a test as in the K-12 years, but during those formative years, no. A kid needs plenty of time to forget school and just BE a KID!
scribblingdaddy on August 01, 2012:
Actually, academic studies (one in particular from Duke University) have shown that students are not assigned enough homework. It is a misconception based on anecdotal feedback and not supported by empirical evidence. That being said, it is an interesting debate and I thank you for your post!
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on July 26, 2012:
LOL, Greg--"steal" away--I believe I originally read that as a reader contribution in Reader's Digest Magazine nearly 50 years ago.... ;-)
Greg Horlacher from Grand Prairie, TX on July 26, 2012:
No need to respond to this comment - I just wanted to tell you that the "roast" story made me laugh, and I'm stealing it.
You are a wonderful teacher even without the official paperwork.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on July 26, 2012:
Hello, Greg Horlacher,
Thank you very much for your supportive comment. It is good to hear a like-minded opinion from someone in the profession. Conventional "wisdom," indeed needs to be challenged. Doing something for no better reason than "that's how it's always been done" makes no better sense than changing something, "just because we can" on some whim or because new technology becomes available. Each thing must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis.
I am reminded of the story of a young bride, cooking a roast. She cut off the end before putting it in the pan, and her husband inquired why she had done so. "I don't know--that's how Mom always did it." A phone call to the mother revealed the same answer; that's how HER Mom always did roasts. Grandma was still living, so they contacted her. The reply? "That's the only way the roast would fit in the pan I had."
Thanks again for your contribution to the discussion.
Greg Horlacher from Grand Prairie, TX on July 26, 2012:
Great hub, DzyMsLizzy! I am a teacher, and my wife could tell you that I have complained about the time and needless frustration wasted on assigning homework. Do you know that many schools require teachers to assign homework, and that parents have been known to become angry at LACK of homework? What? We need to take time out to think about the real benefit/harm of "conventional wisdom." You've probably read his work already, but Alfie Kohn is an author who shares our opinions (with scientific backup).
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on July 12, 2012:
Thank you very much for your input and for your understanding of the article for what it is. I appreciate your common sense in realizing that this is, indeed, my opinion, (albeit a very strongly held opinion), and no one is forced to agree. Thanks, also for your praise and for the support about the hard-liners' manner in expressing their opinions.
I'm pleased you found it well presented, and am grateful for all the votes. Thanks very much.
Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on July 12, 2012:
I think you did a great job presenting your opinion. I think I would agree with you but have to give this another read as well! :) I am sorry for all the people who have responded with harsh comments. This is your opinion, and they are just offering theirs against yours and can do so in a better manner. Nevertheless, great presentation of your points and I admire you for sharing this! Great job, voted up useful, awesome, and interesting!
kiss on May 15, 2012:
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on April 28, 2012:
Allow me to educate you about your misperceptions. Frist of all, a parent IS a teacher--their child's first teacher before they ever set foot in a formal school setting.
Secondly, there are MANY HUNDREDS of home-schooled children who regularly out-perform public school students in many ways.
Thirdly, I have taught children during extra-curricular activities, and I do understand how children learn. And they do NOT learn if they are bored and frustrated, but learn very easily if the lesson is made enjoyable.
Also, my husband IS a credentialed teacher, with multiple degrees including a Master's in Social Science, and he agrees with my position.
Your argument about "undermining" and "leaving to the experts" is laughable and a straw-man defense. There are so many self-styled "experts" out there as to make the term meaningless. I have come across more than a handful of "credentialed teachers," the supposed 'experts' who did not belong anywhere near a classroom full of children because they simply did not possess the temperament for the job.
My father, who had only an eighth-grade education was far smarter than many college graduates. He worked for a San Francisco bus company, and was most outraged that they sent to New York for "experts" to solve some issues. He exploded, "The REAL experts are the passengers who use the system!" He did not claim that the managers were experts--he knew that the experts were those who had to deal with the management's decisions.
Just because someone has a piece of paper stating that they have completed some prescribed course of study does not necessarily qualify them as an 'expert.' If they have become so hidebound and inflexible as to be totally resistant to any changes or suggestions, then they are part of the problem.
I appreciate your time in voicing your opinion and adding to the discussion, but, as you stated about my article, your position, too is but opinion, and everyone is entitled to their own. Given that this country still maintains some semblance of freedom of speech, we all have the right to voice those opinions, and are NOT required to keep them to ourselves. I reserve that right, and continue to disagree vehemently with your statements.
cmcapen from Wilmington, NC on April 28, 2012:
Once again, a non-educator is writing an article about a subject on which she only has cursory knowledge. Just because you went to school, have children who went to school, and have grandchildren who went to school, doesn't mean you are an expert on teaching. I would not write an article about a point of law or type of medical procedure because I have no training in either of those professions. Nor would I write an article about some aspect of chemical or civil engineering because I am not an engineer. For some reason, non-educators, feel they are qualified to talk about education and make decisions about education and try to influence the profession of education when they have no training as educators and yet would not attempt to do the same things with any other profession. You have a right to an opinion, but that opinion only hurts and undermines the work of thousands of professional teachers when you write in the name of education.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on April 27, 2012:
Hello again, TFScientist--
Ah..you are in the UK--perhaps we have a different problem in this country. Maybe your overall discipline is better "across the pond." ;-)
My observations are based not only upon my own unfortunate experiences, but also upon those of my own children, and my frustrations in attempting to help them deal with their homework. I also worked in the schools as a volunteer teacher's aide for a few years, both at the elementary and high school level, so I was in a position to witness the problem across a wide range of students.
Testing proves nothing but the ability to temporarily memorize facts long enough to get by the test. AT this point in my life, I doubt I would still pass the high-school annual tests I was given, because the questions thereon were not relevant to life experience. That information is long since tossed into my mental circular file.
You assess a student's progress by observation. Yes, that's part of a teacher's job, and yes, it takes more effort than handing out a booklet to be machine-scored at some off-site facility. (Here in the USA, those are the kinds of tests that are used to "assess" progress and competence.) I'm not talking about end-of-chapter (or module, as you refer) tests, given in class and graded by the teacher.
You are quite correct that we will probably never convince each other of our respective positions, so we will agree to disagree. I thank you for your well-put points and contribution to the discussion.
Rhys Baker from Peterborough, UK on April 27, 2012:
How else do you suggest we assess the knowledge gained through education without testing? There has been a huge amount of research done into the effectiveness of homework. 30 minutes per night is an optimum and what I set. Children need an opportunity to convert the knowledge to their long term memory, homework making up a substantial part of this, along with revision.
Test scores in the UK have been rising for years (this being used as proof that the exams are getting easier)
Homework is a vital constituent of the curriculum. Over the 5 years of secondary school, those who do not complete their homework miss out on an entire year's worth of education.
If I had a choice, I would not set homework. Marking it is a pain and extremely time consuming. (BTW, current research states that homework MUST be clearly marked to show it's worth to a child, but should not just give a number or percentage, but instead give a formative comment). However, I know that homework improves the attainment and progress of my pupils. Even my bottom sets are eager to complete my homework - and I work in a challenging inner city school.
I know I won't convince you - bad experiences as a child permanently colour the attitude of a person. As I said, you have made a series well argued points, and I respect your position...even if I disagree with it :)
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on April 27, 2012:
@ TFScientist--You have exactly made one of my points by your emphasis on "end of module tests and formative assessments."
I feel THAT is one of the biggest problems with our school system: teaching to a test. In this scenario, more emphasis is placed on competition between schools and getting the best test scores--but are the students truly learning useful life skills and information they will need? It does not seem so, given the continually falling qualilty of high school graduates who cannot read at grade level, for one thing.
Back when I was in school, newspapers were said to have been written for a 10th grade reading level. I believe they are now written for a reading level somewhere between 5th and 8th grade.
If you don't believe me, just watch one of Jay Leno's "Man on the Street" segments some night. He asks "general knowledge" questions of random (usually young) people. The answers he gets, or the dumbstruck looks, are truly scary. It is a sad commentary on our schools, test scores notwithstanding--they are truly irrlelevant and highly misleading.
Thank you for stopping by and adding to the discussion.
@ kelleyward--Thank you very much for your input. I agree one hundred percent. Kids need time to just be kids, and forget about schoolwork. With the busy schedules families have these days, and the current homework burden, there is insufficient time left for them to "just be kids." Thanks very much for the votes and the share.
@ Robert Erich--Thank you very much for your contribution. As for the study hall problem, there IS a simple solution: it's called "discipline." Yes, what an old-fashioned idea!
Here's how I believe that should be handled: When the kids walk in the door, the teacher is at the door with a basket, into which must be deposited ALL cell phones, Game Boys, or what have you that can cause all those distractions. Next, the study hall should be structured as a library--in other words, SILENCE, PLEASE!! NO talking. Desks should be spaced sufficiently to discourage passing of notes. At that point, there is really nothing left for the kids to do BUT the work they are supposed to be doing! We definitely need to step back in time to stricter standards of discipline, and stop being afraid to keep unruly kids in check.
Thank you very much for your votes and the share.
Rhys Baker from Peterborough, UK on April 27, 2012:
As a teacher I have to disagree. I ran an experiment during my training where I gave one group homework and the parallel group no homework. Even after factoring out differences, the group with homework scored statistically much higher on end of module tests and formative assessments. It links into how we transfer information from short term to long term memory - you need to secure knowledge after the lesson, before your following week's lesson
Still, a well written hub and very interesting. Thanks for sharing
kelleyward on April 27, 2012:
DzyMsLizzy, you have so many important points here in this article. Alfie Kohen has written on this subject and I agree with the assumption that school work should be done at school. When kids come home they should be allowed to wind down, get outside, and enjoy being a kid! Voted up and Shared! Take care, Kelley
Robert Erich from California on April 27, 2012:
Hi Lizzy, this is a very interesting article and I am sure that kids everywhere are cheering you on! I agree and disagree. I strongly believe that our educational system needs to be revamped. However, I have worked in several high schools for a short period of time and know that many students are given time in class to do their homework but don't do it! Class time and study halls in school are usually used for socializing and playing with classmates. Honestly, I believe that the best learning can get done at home, away from the distractions of friends. Of course, as you mentioned, few parents have time. I'm not sure what the solution is yet, but we definitely need one!
Thanks for writing. Voted up and shared.
moonlake from America on April 15, 2012:
You are so right about everything. Kids have so many after school activities and than they have to do homework. It's to much and as for as I'm concerned the teachers are there to teach and that's what they should do in class.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on April 15, 2012:
First, let me say that you do not sound the least bit dumb or impaired. You sound like a very serious, intelligent student who is very well-spoken. You know how to think for yourself, and and have communicated your thoughts and ideas very well. The fact that you are aware that there are serious problems within our educational system is a great start. Awareness is the beginning of change.
You asked for more of my articles on related matters. Personally, I've written only one other article that is related: https://hubpages.com/education/I-Wonder-About-Our-... It is mainly about how the expectations keep getting lowered to cater not to those like yourself, who may struggle, but to hand out diplomas to those who will not even make an effort, and how the teachers are kept from truly educating their students because they are busy "teaching to a test." (You know--those annual, annoying "fill in the bubbles" booklet tests that are supposed to measure progress, but in fact do nothing but waste time.)
One of the main problems with our public educational system is that TPTB (The Powers That Be) have a vested interest in getting everyone to conform to the same standard. Individuality and creative thinking are actively discouraged (those darned tests, again). Fit the mold. Behave. Don't speak out. There is no allowance for those who learn differently. Not everyone wants to, or is able to sit and read; not everyone can interpret what they hear and take good notes. It is a very complex problem but it is not an impossible one to solve. In fact, you have inspired me to take these thoughts into an entire new article.
Thank you for the links. I will look those up, for I was not familiar with those persons.
Never give up. You could be the focus for change. Spread the word at school--get others involved. Talk honestly (but politely) to your teachers, the principal, your counselor and your parents. By pointing out everything you have said here, you may be able to at least gain some concessions for yourself and others in your situation.
I wish you all the best.
Ryan Finkler on April 15, 2012:
wow. i very truly admire how you respond to every single person's comment here and so quickly. i think this is the first time I've seen that. I'm 16 by the way. i could not stop reading your article and wish it was ten times as long and informative. please refer me to anything else written by you or that relates to this subject.
i cant tell you how frustrating homework is for me. i really think it is so extremely unnecessary. i suffer from various mental disabilities like you mentioned that cause me to take a little more than twice as long as the average student to do... basically anything. this includes reading, even talking, thinking(basically what all this boils down to), HOMEWORK, math, science, writing, and, like i said, basically everything else. i'm supposed to get twice the time as everyone else to get my homework done (which doesn't really suffice. all it does is give me more of a chance to take precious moments out of my own time to make sure i get all this homework done), but all my teachers (except a few) just give me as much time as i want which is really nice.
i want to learn. i cant tell you how desperately i want to learn and utilize my creativity the way it was meant to. i cant though because i'm spending every moment of my waking life doing stuff related to school. how backwards is that? there are so many interesting books about physics and other things that i want to read that i just simply cant. i know how smart i am. i used to think i was so dumb, but i'm not telling my self that anymore. i just need the chance to "breathe". they are squandering my intelligence and this just makes me sick i want to learn everything they are trying to shove down my throat at school and much more, but i cant because the whole system is broken and just does not work! for example, i want to learn history, but we get so much homework in that class and my teacher makes it so boring that i don't read a single word from my text book. in fact, i wish i could just go online and look up the stuff they want me to learn about.
that bit about your exceedingly intelligent grandson and how school is wasting his intelligence got me right here. there is something that a famous scientist/futurist named Michio Kaku (my favorite one who is almost my idol) said that got me in the exact same way. i encourage you to watch this video:
search for "Imagination: The Rocket Fuel of Science" on bigthink.comin michio kaku's videos. 2:50 - 3:30 of the video is what i am mainly referring to. have you seen sir ken Robinson's videos or read his book "The Element"? if you haven't heard of him, you should look him up. i recommend this video to start with:
search for "RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms" on youtube.com. it is very interesting and informative. i have watched just about every one of his videos. it just doesn't make sense. how can education be so messed up while no one(the government) is doing a thing about it? sure they'll say they are trying, but i don't believe that for a minute. i will when i see it. i see all over the place(articles/videos/etc.) what is wrong and what needs to be fixed and how all that is affecting the kids, parents, and everyone else, but what about real solutions? who has come up with some elaborate plan that will spark the life back into a downward spiraling form of education? i tell you, you are one of those people. you may not have everything covered, in fact this is only a tiny fraction of the grand problem WITH A REAL SOLUTION: no homework. this is only the beginning. i swear, if people don't start banding together soon and working to fix this mess, we are heading for some real problems in the future. ...please tell me i'm wrong and that there really are people out there designing the new education system that we inevitably must have ready for future students that must go into effect sometime within the forthcoming years. i have plenty more to say, but i'll give you a chance to read this first so i can respond back.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on March 27, 2012:
Thanks very much for your input. I agree--not all after-school programs are homework-focused; many are just babysitting and entertainment.
And yes, let the kids be kids, indeed!
scottsalot from Oakland California on March 27, 2012:
As a parent of two elementary school kids, I agree 100%! What about the kids who are in after school programs due to working parents? They get home after 6:00, eat, then have to do homework? And what's up w/ freemarketingnow? An elementary aged child getting to bed at 11:00? There's nothing wrong with going over areas they're weak in, or actually learning to apply lessons learned in everyday life; that's "functional" homework. But, geez, let's let our kids BE kids!
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on March 16, 2012:
The child/adult comparison was intended to point out that children are not able to, and should not be expected to be held to adult-level expectations. It was you who said it was an "unfair" comparison. I disagree.
"The parent or an older sibling," eh? Well, I was an only child, and my mother did the best she could, rest her patient soul. My father taught me many things, but did not get involved in homework, as he had only an 8th grade education himself. Yet, he was self-taught, well-read and educated (and also possessed far more common sense) than many college graduates.
Your comment about "underserved" communities is well put. There are A LOT of those in this nation. Since the government constantly sees fit to balance the budget on the backs of the poor and at the expense of education with their continual cuts to funding, school has become little more than a babysitting service. Private schools, charter schools, and whatever "KIPP" is, are not options for the majority.
As far as majority being right, no, it is not always right, and I admit my majority is but within this venue, and I've undertaken no formal survey...but I could so arrange.
I challenge you to put your theories to such a successful outcome in an underfunded, inner-city school whose students come from broken and abusive families. Talk to the single mother working two jobs with an absentee father sending no child support money, struggling desperately to balance everything, how much time or energy she has to help her kids with homework.
Then talk to me about how much homework "helps." Yes, I grew up in San Francisco, and saw plenty of evidence of such families in my high school years. I saw even more evidence of broken families when my own kids were in school.
As a fellow Californian, I'm sure you're aware of the painful slippage of our state's educational ranking from near the top to next to the bottom. I believe that the issue there is far larger than any argument over homework.
And with that, I leave it. I will not continue a pointless discussion in which neither of us is going to change the other's mind.
freemarketingnow from California on March 16, 2012:
It is you who drew the child/adult comparison. I was merely pointing out that some homework (1-2 hours) does not kill their fun and time away from family. I think reading a good book or doing some multiplication tables is really helpful for children.
No, there was no personal attack on you. Giving them the answers helps them self-regulate. I grade them for the process and the work, not their answers. This method has been successful, as my students scored four times the district average, and earned over a million dollars in scholarships. The school that I currently run is also a Title 1 Academically Distinguished School.
Sometimes, teaching requires sacrifice. Obviously, the parent or an older sibling would be there to help and assist. Unfortunately, I've discovered that in underserved communities, they are often lacking a stable home structure. That's why whole entire schools (like KIPP) allow children to call before 8m if they have questions on homework. Based on their results (85% of kids going to and through college), I would say that it has turned out pretty successful.
I don't care if most people are in agreement with you. Majority doesn't equate to accuracy, as was demonstrated by the Civil Rights Movement in which the minority resoundingly went against the status quo at that time and created positive change.
http://www.lulu.com/alastingwill - Classroom Resources For All
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on March 16, 2012:
Hello again, freemarketingnow,
Again, I must point out we are comparing kids against adults, who have willingly chosen their professions along with any extra hours of work those jobs may entail. Children are not given any such option.
As far as your inference that "someone" (you obviously meant me), did not do their homework--I most certainly did do mine--as a child, I was "terrified" of getting into trouble. That said, it is my own frustrating experiences WITH those homework assignments that led me to my current position on the matter: that, and my further experiences in frustration while having the same battles over homework with my own kids that my mother had with me. Then it repeated again as I watched my elder daughter fight the battles all over again with her kids, and now my younger daughter is in the same fight.
It does nothing to "help" and everything to create disharmony in more families than not. I've seen it in plenty of friends' families as well.
You suggest "giving them an answer key." How does that accomplish your stated purpose? If they don't understand, what good is copying the answer? What of the assignments that demand, "show your work?" An answer key is of no help, there.
Give them your phone number? Seriously? If you are that teacher, do you want YOUR evening and "down time" interrupted by umpteen phone calls a night to explain something you thought you covered during the school day?
If you've read the rest of the comments, you'll notice not many are from kids, and the majority are in agreement with me.
I'm sorry you feel as you do, but unfortunately, I maintain my position, and we must continue to 'agree to disagree.'
freemarketingnow from California on March 16, 2012:
That is such an unfair argument. Most people work a 9am-5pm job. People like lawyers and doctors probably work much more. Students in traditional public school go to school from 830am - 230pm. You try to spin the argument to make it look like they're just overburdened with work and that their schedule is dominated by all school and no family or fun activities. Nothing could be further from the truth. Assuming a child sleeps at 11pm, they have 8.5 hours of discretionary time. I think that's more than enough to get them to do some reading and to have them do some homework. How else do you explain students that are in high school and don't know how to do their multiplication tables? Obviously, someone wasn't doing their homework and it's significantly hurting them. Also, just because it doesn't work for some students, you can't apply that argument to the whole population. Last, I think you have to look at why it doesn't work and try to fix it there? I offered some suggestions. If it's because they're doing it incorrectly and it's poor practice, maybe it's that you give them an answer key. If it's because they're not understanding it even with an answer key, maybe you give them a phone number or an email. Some textbook companies even have accompanying videos that the kids can go online and watch when they get stuck on a problem. I just think that the times have really changed with technology, and the help that a kid can get access to these days is probably vastly different than what was available to you when you were in school.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on March 16, 2012:
Thanks for stopping by. I think we'll have to just leave it at "agree to disagree." Homework never helped me--all it did was cause massive frustration; and ditto with all my grandkids.
I still think it is just wrong-minded to have kids continue to have to do schoolwork once school is over. The bank teller doesn't bring his work home when the workday is done; the electrician doesn't bring his work home after working hours; and so forth. The few professions whose employees end up bringing work home--that's different. Those are adults, and they knew what they signed up for when they entered that profession.
Kids need the break from study, and time to recharge.
freemarketingnow from California on March 15, 2012:
While I think your points are valid, I think there are ways around the problem. For example let's think outside the box. What about giving kids the answers to the homework? What about giving them your phone number? What about maybe posting worked-out solutions online that they can study after the due date of the assignment? I did homework throughout school, and it definitely helped me.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on March 15, 2012:
Your question is a perfect example of why I am against homework on principle. It causes frustration for everyone involved.
You could approach the problem from a real-world standpoint by baking a pie and inviting 4 of your granddaughter's friends to share, take pictures, and inform the teacher that you figured it out by practical application. These days, that would be exactly my approach. However, it would probably not be acceptable at school.
Since math was and still is my weakest subject, I cannot help you with this matter, but there are plenty of homework help sites online. You might want to look up the type of problem you describe here: http://www.math.com/homeworkhelp/EverydayMath.html
Thank you for stopping by.
Patsy on March 15, 2012:
I am rying to help my 10 year old granddaughter with a math problem. She is in 4th grade. I don't just want the answer. I would also like to see how the answer was arrived at. This way, I can take that as an example and then, no matter what similar math problem she gets, she will have the ammunition behind her to figure it out. Can you help me with this? 5 people sit down to have a piece of pie. If all 5 people received 2/10 of the pie, how much was left and how did I figure this out.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on March 08, 2012:
Hello, Ricky 86--
Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. Perhaps you can print out the article, along with the comments, and you can show your science teacher that many adults are in agreement with you.
There may be times when it is necessary to look something up, or study refresher material for a test, but to assign homework each and every day just for the purpose of doing so, I still belive is a waste of time for the reasons I've already stated in the article.
Ricky on March 08, 2012:
Sorry, I accidentally put the word "when" in the first sentence, ignore that.
Ricky on March 08, 2012:
I totally 100% agree with this, and the only reason I stumbled across this article is because when I didn't do my science homework, so my science teacher gave me an essay to do on the "Importance of Homework" even though I disagree that homework is important. It's a pain forcing yourself to agree on something that you don't agree with.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on February 07, 2012:
Thanks very much for adding to the discussion. I do think you are correct that there is a deficit of challenging curricula for the more advanced students. Here in California, I'm certain that our state's budget fiascoes have probably long since resulted in the elimination of the G.A.T.E. (Gifted and Talented Education) program. (It is shameful that our legislators think it is acceptable to balance the books at the expense of education instead of cutting their own salaries and assorted perks.)
I still think homeowrk is too focused on being 'busy work' these days, especially with all the errant focus of "teaching to a test."
Some level of homework in high school, as college approaches, yes, might be worthwhile, to accustom students to learning to find information on their own. But in elementary and junior high (middle school)? No. Absolutely not.
I cringe when I see young kids with such heavy loads of books that they need a wheeled backpack to carry them back and forth.
Ginny McLeod from Overland Park on February 07, 2012:
I'm not sure I agree that homework should be completely eliminated but I do think that kids today-even more than in my generation-are being made to take on heavier than necessary loads, they've unfortunately cut down on recesses and I do agree that making kids do homework as early as Kindergarten is beyond ridiculous.
I am convinced-and even saw during my own generation-that there are many loopholes in education that definitely need to be corrected. Also, from the opposite spectrum from those with mental and learning disabilities, did you also know that we're losing many of our intellectually gifted children due to the fact that there are not enough outlets and programs to challenge them? I'm more on the talented side myself (though my father is gifted, has been a school psychologist twice and even helped establish a gifted program at one time) but I can only imagine what they go through being bored in school all day and then having to take home and do homework that's too easy for them.
MjFan4Eva1997 on February 01, 2012:
Thanks for your quick return. Yes, my mum taught me about the different types of learning. My brother is 18 and he's going to Japan to teach English. He is helping me learn too. Best wishes for world peace.:)
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on February 01, 2012:
Thank you very much for your well-thought-out comment, and for sharing your experiences. I agree that children should not be forced to sit in uncomfortable positions for long periods. You cannot learn if you are uncomfortable, or worse, in pain.
For 14, you are, indeed, very well spoken, and I am impressed that you were able to properly use the word "kinesthetic," because most kids your age would have no clue to the definition, let alone the spelling. I also appreciate and support your point, there, because it is so true that not everyone learns in the same way, and formal schooling attempts to fit all the pegs into the same shaped holes.
As for my grandson, he is already 18, and pretty much a school dropout. He will have to learn the rest of life's lessons the hard way at this point.
Thank you again for stopping by and adding your experiences to the discussion. Much appreciated.
MjFan4Eva1170 on February 01, 2012:
I am 14 and home-schooled, and I agree with everything on your article. I got taken out of school when I was about 12-13, because I was being severely bullied. But I believe it has had a greater impact on my learning. Being more of a kinesthetic learner myself, I learn best by doing things practically, rather than sitting down writing stuff down on a sheet of paper. I do not like sitting down for too long at a time, as it hurts my legs and, in minor cases, do damage to our spines. Once we were sitting in a circle (this was in Primary school. Btw I'm English)and my legs were aching from sitting in the same position for a long period of time, and I moved, and the teacher told me to cross my legs again. I just flatly refused - no child should ever have to be in a position that is uncomfortable for them. Another thing about homework is that everybody is different - everybody has a different way of learning.I never did my homework. Ever. I thought, "why should I be doing this? I've already spent half the day at school so why should I be doing this?" My parents are against homework too. We all have our weaknesses and difficulties, and they need to be taken into account if the tasks are to be performed and carried out effectively. English is my strong point, people believe I have very good grammar and spelling skills for a 14 year old, and I use that to help other people spell.However, mathematical skills are my weak point.I find maths difficult and find that I am not able to focus and concentrate on maths for long periods of time. However, I have made maths fun for myself. I have a game where you can buy and sell things at the shop, it is a Sonic game. Well I bought and sold loads of different stuff, and worked out the answers before viewing the leftover amount. And I learnt a lot from doing this exercise and my parents were proud. I am also learning Japanese - all because I wanted to! I was not made or forced to learn it, I learned it because I am fascinated with Japanese culture and hope to go there one day. Learning can be fun, but children have to be motivated, in order to learn. I have also been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, through no fault of my own. I believe this is not the case, in fact, I resent it. I do not like being referred to as "disabled" or having "problems", or "different" or even "special". The reason is that everyone has problems, everyone is different and everyone is special and unique in their own way. Not just because they have a certain "disability" or disorder. School is like a prison. Thanks again for your article. I think your son should succeed with his future plans if he keeps working hard at that which he aims - you can reach the goals that you have set, no matter what.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on January 31, 2012:
Thank you so much for your input. I'm pleased that my article was of use to you.
smartypants on January 31, 2012:
i loved your article! it was amazing with so many arguments.I am doing a persuasive piece at school and this really helped me find a good argument i could work on. It has many details and is very strong.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on January 29, 2012:
Thank you for stopping by and leaving your feedback. I'm pleased you liked the article.
Anonymous on January 29, 2012:
My mother and I just finished having the whole homework argument. Thank you so much for posting this. It's really awesome and I totally agree; learning can and should be fun!
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on November 01, 2011:
Learning should indeed be fun, and yes, fully integrated into life, and life-long learning.
Homework being optional, also a great idea, instead of the current standard of having it play heavily into the child's grade. Children generally have short attention spans, and having to sit and do homework after they've had to sit through the same material all day at school is a recipe for resentment and frustration. I've known a good number of kids who earned poor grades as a direct result of not wanting to do homework, in spite of their full grasp of the subject.
And yes, with a large percentage of families today having both parents working, that time for them to spend chaperoning homework assignments is in short supply, and the burden is on the parent as well as the child. There are more important things the parents need to do, such as run the household, see to shopping for food, kid's clothing and school supplies, go to work themselves and spend quality FUN time with the children. It's no wonder tempers flare.
Thank you very much for your input.
wwriter from India on November 01, 2011:
Learning should be fun, whether it happens at home or in the school. Learning should not be thought of as happening only in the 5 - 6 hours at school, but right through most of the things a child does. When learning is not integrated with real everyday life, it becomes something compartmentalized into a six hour a day 'sentence' in school, which would naturally be detested by most free spirits. I think the problem lies not so much in the home-work part of it as in the 'enforcement' of dull or repetitive work. If it can be made fun, made into something that is interesting for the child - it would not be resented. Homework for children would involve their parents time, hence it should be in the natural of optional projects for children which can be done to the extent the parents are able to find the time.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on April 19, 2011:
Hi there, TinaAtHome--
I agree with you 100%! Learning should be FUN--when you are having fun, you learn and retain more, and you have more mental energy and emotional stamina to deal with the tougher areas.
As the old saying goes, "If I had it all to do again, knowing what I know now..." I most certainly would homeschool my kids!
Thank you so much for your input.
TinaAtHome from California on April 19, 2011:
I totally agree with you. I homeschool. Many people say to me that they couldn't homeschool, but I'm convinced it's less stressful than dealing with schools as I am working on my own agenda and my own timetable. If my child is having a bad day we stop schoolwork and restart the next day, so my child learns how to do a lot of work when they are feeling good and to take a break when they aren't. And isn't that one of life's great lessons?
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on February 06, 2011:
Thanks so much for your insight. I have not read the book you mention--I will be sure to look it up.
I am glad you enjoyed my rant. ;-)
kapokkid on February 06, 2011:
Have you ever read Alfie Kohn's "The Homework Myth?" Supports a number of your arguments and has quite a few good references to various studies that do the same. There are so many assumptions about homework that are false but we don't ever stop to question them. As a high school teacher I have rarely assigned homework in the past several years. I assume my students will read at home and occasionally I will ask them to work on finishing an essay, etc. But very rarely. We have them at school for 7.5 hrs a day, what gives us the right to take even more of their time away!
Enjoyed reading the hub, nice work.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on December 18, 2010:
Thank you so much for that valuable insight. Your experience underlines the point that the entire concept is flawed. Furthermore, as you point out it seems to be about government influence and interference.
My husband has an Master's in Social Science, and also a hobby of studying people's behavior and their interactions with society.
He has long observed that children in the public school system are taught less of the truth of our history and current events, and more of how to conform--making everyone into neat little 'round pegs.'
He asserts that only in college can you learn the truth, and then only if you apply yourself, because college is less about teaching subjects than teaching you how to find information. He learned things in college that were 180 degrees from what he'd been taught up through high school.
Thank you for your well-thought-out comment.
Linda Jo Martin from Post Falls, Idaho, USA on December 18, 2010:
I tend to think this focus on forcing public schooled children to do homework is an intentional attempt on the part of government school system designers to prevent children and parents from having a happy homelife. I homeschooled my two youngest children most of their childhoods... but when my daughter was a pre-teen she decided she just HAD to attend 8th grade because she found out that the 8th grade graduation in this town included wearing evening gowns.
I allowed her to attend public school, but it was terrible for our relationship. Early mornings consisted of me badgering her to get ready for school. Afternoons, more friction over homework. Evenings, early to bed, or worse yet, arguments about getting to sleep when she didn't want to. There was no time left for a loving mother-daughter relationship.
The school took 100% of her time away... except for a few hours on weekends though there was homework then too. So, I totally agree with you, that homework should be eliminated. However I'd go a bit further down that road and say all government school systems should be eliminated. I support the separation of school and state.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on December 18, 2010:
Hi there, Happyboomernurse!
I'm glad you liked this hub. Thanks so much for stopping by and adding your comment. I appreciate your input.
Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on December 17, 2010:
Oh wow, I so agree with you, especially since we're now in the age of computers where the learning of rote facts doesn't make much sense!
Thanks for sounding off on this very important topic and speaking up for common sense to prevail. Our kids need exercise and play after school as it has been well documented that exercise actually improves a child's ability to learn. Unfortunately, many schools have actually eliminated phys ed and recess, which is the exact opposite of what's needed.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on October 01, 2010:
Hi, there, triosol,
Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you liked the hub. ;-)
triosol on October 01, 2010:
very good hub. very informative. I like your idea. Voted up.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on September 18, 2010:
Thanks for stopping by and offering your insight. Indeed, there is a lot of "old school" homework still being assigned by many teachers...it is one of the main reasons for my grandson's failure in 'regular school,' despite his intelligence.
I honestly believe that the 'style' or 'type' of homework may well be a function of policies set by local school districts...else why would he have had the same issues from grade school through high school?
I live near enough to him to have witnessed the actual type of assignments, and the battles with his parents. What he was given WAS busywork...for him, anyway. He grasped it in class, and saw no point in wasting his time further on material he already knew.
There could have been so much more peace and harmony in the home had it not been for these homework assignments.
Amy on September 17, 2010:
This sounds like "old school" homework. I've been teaching for 17 years and I've definitely seen a change in homework. I am a first grade teacher and require my students to practice reading to their parents every night. It is a great way for students to show off their skills and spend some time with a parent(s). I think all homework should be material that has been covered well in class so students are successful. I would like to think that all teachers have the best interest of his/her students at heart and a specific purpose/goal in mind when assigning homework...no one has time for just busywork.
Liz Elias (author) from Oakley, CA on September 05, 2010:
Although, I'm suggesting breathing zest and life into class assignments, and eliminating homework... ;-)
Thanks for stopping by--glad you liked the hub!
Kevin Schofield on September 05, 2010:
Hi DzyMsLizzy. A well-argued and cogent hub. I detested homework when I was a child, and always did it in a resentful and perfunctory way. I totally agree with the methods you suggest for breathing zest and life into homework. It should be a joy, not a meaningless chore. Great hub! Kindest regards, Kev.